From 2025, the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), more commonly known as the landline, will no longer exist. The copper network used across the UK for telephone communications has been active since 1876 and over the past few decades, this same network of copper cables has also been used to provide internet services to people across the nation. Now, the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), once the UK’s primary means of communication, is being phased out. In its place, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology will be used to facilitate phone communication moving forward.
Why is it being turned off soon?
Essentially, due to the advancement of technology, ISDN can no longer keep up with other internet access communications in a cost-effective way; in other words, it’s outdated. Because ISDN carries data and voice communications over copper-cabled telephone lines, the demands of modern-day mobile and internet communications are outstripping what it can deliver. Given how indispensable the Internet of Things has become in our daily lives, its phasing out was inevitable, but it is nonetheless a massive digital transformation for the UK. Since the introduction of ISDN the needs of the nation have only continued to grow, with no signs of slowing down, and it has finally reached the point where steps are having to be taken to modernise the network.
What exactly is VoIP?
If you’ve ever used Skype, Zoom, Facetime, or WhatsApp to speak to someone, then you’ve already used a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system. First used in the 90s, it describes any system that makes voice calls using a broadband internet connection instead of a landline. Here, your IP phone connects to your internet router and because it works almost instantly, the experience of making or receiving a VoIP call is so similar to that of a traditional landline that you don’t even notice the difference.
Why is VoIP a better alternative to ISDN?
There are a few reasons VoIP is more suited to modern requirements than ISDN, starting with portability and advanced functionalities. Users can make and receive calls from any device while business users can benefit from features like call forwarding, automatic rerouting to the correct department and integration with CRMs. It is also cheaper to run as this technology relies on an existing internet connection rather than a service provider’s infrastructure; you could be offered a better price even if your package includes more advanced features. VoIP is also much easier to scale as the copper cabling required by ISDN phone lines means that if the number of users increases, so does the infrastructure. On the other hand, most VoIP service providers operate using the cloud so you can add as many extra users as you like. Despite all of these benefits, reliability is one of the main reasons ISDN is being switched off very soon. The old copper network often experiences dropouts that disrupt phone calls meaning an IP phone will offer a clearer and more consistent connection. However, time is running out when it comes to making the switch. The UK as a whole is actually a little behind the curve. The Netherlands and Estonia have already made the switch and many other countries are ahead of us in replacing older phone line systems with VoIP. While the change hasn’t happened here just yet it is quickly approaching and copper will soon be made redundant.
How will it affect you?
At present you’ll only see changes if you live in certain areas. The copper switch-off has already started happening in cities like Southampton but the effects won’t be felt in other parts of the country just yet. In preparation for the ISDN and PTSN switch-off, all standard phone line contracts will need to be changed to a VoIP contract by December 2025. If you’re already in a contract that extends through 2025, you won’t have any price changes. At most, you may find that your phone line will be plugged directly into your router to allow for calls. This means that by December 2025, every UK phone line will have migrated to a digital network using IP Cloud technology across a fibre-based service. This is likely to affect a host of different systems used by your business, like intruder and fire alarms, CCTV, voice services and EPOS machines. In short, any system that currently relies on PSTN will need to start planning the move as soon as possible.
How can you get ahead?
Since September of this year, BT has stopped selling traditional phone lines in all exchange areas, resulting in a gradual rollout of a full fibre network across the country. Because all homes and businesses will need to upgrade before the switch-off in December 2025, it makes sense to get ahead by switching over as soon as possible to save money and get a better phone connection at the same time. As long as you have fibre in your area, you may as well make the change before it is forced upon you.
How can we help?
We are here to help when it comes to providing comprehensive support and making the switch, from assisting in auditing your network to helping you work out the best plan of action for your business. Leaving this to the last minute could result in delays and increased installation costs. Depending on the nature of your organisation, these could be anything from DSL broadband to a simple voice line, building alarm circuits and even your means of both internal and external communication. By reviewing what your company has access to now, we can assist you with making the switch before time runs out. To ensure a smooth migration to the cloud please get in touch and our friendly team will be able to help.
Worried about time running out?
To ensure a smooth migration to the cloud please get in touch and our friendly team will be able to help.